History was made this week when CVSRT honorary president, Mr Robert (Bob) Uttley MBE retired from the position he has held since 1994 and handed over the reins to president elect Mr David Whitteron.
A presentation evening was held at The Rescue Post where Bob was presented with the MREW Long Service Certificate, by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Squadron Leader David Dinmore MBE DL RAF (Rtd). He was also offered the role of Lifetime Vice President by CVSRT Team Leader Ben Carter, which Bob gratefully accepted.
At an earlier presentation, Bob was also awarded a Certificate of Loyal Service in appreciation and recognition of service to Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team by West Yorkshire Police. The certificate was presented by Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead on behalf of Chief Constable Dee Collins. At the same presentation Mr Whitehead also presented CVSRT with a donation of £2000, which the team gratefully accepted.
During the evening, invited guests and the team enjoyed tributes to Bob from a past Team Leader, Mr Peter Smith OBE and the current Team Leader Mr Ben Carter, followed by a response from Bob. The evening concluded with a formal handover of the role and a ceremonial ice axe to president elect, Mr David Whitteron. Refreshments were served afterwards at the Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd.
Bob Uttley has been a stalwart supporter of the local community for many years with strong connections to various organistions in Todmorden including; the Choral Society, St Mary’s Church Choir and Walking Groups and is a keen Walsden and Todmorden cricket follower. He was also the captain at Todmorden Golf club in 1973, club president in the early 1990s and ground officer between 1974-1987. Most recently, Bob was awarded the MBE for his services to the community in Calder Valley and Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
His connection with CVSRT was sadly borne out of tragedy when his son Robert was killed whilst climbing Annapurna III in the Himalayas during a whiteout in 1983. Robert had been a member of CVSRT for a number of years. During his tenure, Bob was instrumental in fundraising £100,000 to help build the team’s current base - The Rescue Post in Mytholmroyd, for which we will be eternally grateful. CVSRT would like to take this opportunity to thank Bob for his incredible support over the years and wish him a very long and happy retirement from the role.
We would also like to welcome and introduce Mr David Whitteron as our new honorary president. David is only the third president since the team’s formation in 1966 - Miss Phyllis Oakley was the first.
David is a retired Police Chief Inspector with over 47years with the Police Service – a career that started in 1965 as a Police Cadet and he retired from the service in 2013. He is also no stranger to CVSRT or the area as he was an operational team member during the 1990’s.
During his long and distinguished career where he moved through the ranks from a patrol Sergeant in 1974 and after 18 months in uniform he was appointed Detective Sergeant, where he served on the Drugs Squad in Bradford, CID in Dewsbury, Burglary Squad in Mirfield and on the Western Area Task Force. During that time he was seconded to a number of murder investigations including that of the Yorkshire Ripper.
In 1982 he was promoted Detective Inspector and served in the CID at Huddersfield, before being seconded to Police Headquarters where he was responsible for computerising Crime Reporting then for the computerisation of Major Crime Enquiries. Between 1985 and 1988 he was responsible for the establishment and management of computerised Major Incident Rooms throughout West Yorkshire, utilising the HOLMES system. (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System.)
As a result of his vast experience in this field he was seconded, as a Detective Chief Inspector, to the Home Office, where he became National HOLMES adviser. This work took him around most forces in the British Isles advising them on many murder investigations. During this time he also lectured at the Police Staff College at Bramshill.
He returned to West Yorkshire and resumed uniform duties at Brighouse for a number of years where he was the Local Section Commander. He was transferred to Millgarth in central Leeds in 1996, where amongst other matters he took command of the football Euro 96 Policing Operation in the city. He was initially in charge of uniform policing followed by a period in charge of the CID.
CVSRT would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome David back into the team and wish him well as our new president.
It’s safe to say that the last few days have been busy for CVSRT and fellow rescue teams across the country with members working around the clock in shifts to provide support for the emergency services, local councils and associated agencies during the challenging weather extremes everyone has experienced and in some remote areas is still experiencing.
It is worth remembering that the team is a charity funded entirely by donations with all team members volunteering their time freely. In most cases, members have full time jobs and families to support, as well as juggling their commitment to the rescue team. Granted, no one forces them to go out in all weather conditions, day or night, to help those in need, but we do regardless of the circumstance. The sense of community is at the heart of the team with a sole purpose to unconditionally help those in most need. Hard times often bring out the best in people and we have witnessed some incredible acts of kindness towards complete strangers and neighbours alike, which is warming to see in such bitterly cold temperatures.
It would take too long to report on every incident that the team has been involved with during our snow patrols, so in summary we have collated a selection of photos and videos, with details of a few incidents.
• Team assisted Yorkshire Ambulance Service with a casualty with a suspected fractured neck of femur
• Team assisted West Yorkshire Police and neighbouring rescue teams with patrolling high-level routes rescuing drivers and families in distress - in some cases, vehicles had skidded off the road or were stranded for several hours in snowdrifts with sub-zero temperatures and high winds with no supplies
• Local farmers helped to clear a route for a patient to get to hospital for dialysis – Team drove the patient home afterwards.
• 22 people evacuated from M62 to a place of refuge at the North Bridge Leisure Centre. Also supplied hot drinks to stranded drivers on M62 throughout the night.
• High-level patrols continued for several days with the team assisting countless stranded drivers helping to dig out vehicles or evacuating the passengers to a place of safety.
Plus many more taskings from West Yorkshire Police.
Whilst the worst of the weather appears to have passed, snow continues to fall and certain areas of high ground remain affected with difficult driving conditions.
CVSRT remains on standby to assist where required. Please be vigilant, plan ahead and stay safe. Thank you.
High Brown Knoll, 21:30hrs
“Calder Control; this is 'Exercise Charlie One' requesting an exercise helimed for a subject with a suspected MI at grid reference Sierra Echo 0098 3042. Over.”
“Control to Exercise Charlie One, Helimed 99 is en route to your location. ETA 30 minutes. Over”
“Control, just to confirm; actual Helimed 99 en route, not an exercise helimed? Over.”
“Correct, prep a landing site. Out.”
This was the point our evening suddenly became interesting. Tasked with finding four overdue Scouts and their leader, we’d trudged our way through the snow up to the trig point following their planned route. Our casualties were located in an emergency shelter, overdue as their leader had had a ‘funny turn’. While the nominated casualty carer set about dealing with the patient, the rest of us took care of the Scouts and came up with a plan. Normally, requesting a helimed at night was unheard of, but as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance had started flying at night and we needed our casualty evacuated as fast as possible, we figured why not ask. We were surprised when it was granted. A first for our team landing the air ambulance at night, let alone on top of a summit in full winter conditions.
The next 20 hours were to be the culmination of the past year of training, and our past six months on the call out list. With a range on mentors on site to assess our capability, we would take turns performing each specific role within the Search and Rescue Team across a variety of different scenarios – this was our final assessment before we were granted full team membership.
With our patient airborne, we walked the Scouts off the hill towards where we had arranged a rendezvous with a team vehicle. Re-united with their leader, who’d made a miraculous recovery in the back of the air ambulance, we debriefed on the scenario and awaited our next tasking. We were given a grid reference a few kilometres away and a specific route to take there.
But what would we find? Maybe we’ll be searching for a vulnerable missing person? Or a farmer who was showing early signs of heart failure and needed evacuation from his house to an ambulance? Or a Geocacher, who had fallen down a cascade and broken his ankle? How about someone who fell off a crag who was holding onto a tree and needed hauling back up? All pretty regular jobs for CVSRT, ones we’ve seen and trained for. The answer was all five scenarios - spaced out overnight and into the next day when we finally returned to base, stripped all our kit down, re packed the vehicles ready for a real callout, and then debriefed for the last time.
Thankfully we all passed our final assessment and qualified as full team members. For us, this is just the beginning. Though full team members now, we’ve only just started learning what it really means to be part of the mountain rescue family at CVSRT. Our best wishes go to the next batch of trainees who are about to start their training.
CVSRT would like to thank West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Air Ambulance for the assistance with the night evacuation. Thanks also to the staff at Hardcastle Crags for the use of their barn and Adrian & Kathryn Leach for the use of their farm. Finally, thanks to all the CVSRT members and active supporters group who helped and supported us during our final ‘Probie Assessment’ weekend.
CVSRT Probationary Members (2017-18)
Greg May, John Hickling, Matt Keyse and Tom Britten
Written by CVSRT Greg May. Photography by CVSRT Dave Howarth, Al Day and Howard Barton.
At 11:25 Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team received its first callout request of the day from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to assist with an injured male mountain biker who had fallen from his ride in the Oxenhope area. Very shortly after the full team callout had started, we received news that the ambulance crew with assistance from some very kind members of the public had helped the injured rider to the ambulance. The team were promptly stood down.
However at 11:50 CVSRT received a second request for assistance from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Police to locate a female walker near Stoodley Pike who had slipped on black ice sustaining a very painful ankle injury.
20 CVSRT members were available to respond and immediately made their way to the location. Once on-scene team members treated the casualty for an isolated ankle injury, providing pain relief and splinting. Once the casualty was more comfortable, she was packaged and transferred by stretcher to a road ambulance for onward journey to hospital.
In attendance: 20 CVSRT
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
West Yorkshire Police
Duration: 2hrs 42mins
- Date Sunday, 07 January 2018
- Location Stoodley Pike
- Grid Reference SD 96377 23115
- Latitude 53.704452
- Longitude -2.0563589
- Man Hours 64.2
- Members In Attendance 20
CVSRT leaders were called to assist West Yorkshire Police with the search planning for a missing person in the Thornton/Denholme area. Just before the full team were about to be called out, the missing person turned up safe and well.
In attendance: 5 CVSRT
Duration: 5hrs 25mins
- Date Sunday, 17 December 2017
- Location Halifax Police Station
- Grid Reference SE090255
- Latitude 53.726345
- Longitude -1.8648595
- Man Hours 27.1
- Members In Attendance 5
At 12:30, CVSRT received a request from West Yorkshire Police to assist with the search for 74yo Cathryn Holdsworth who was reported missing from her home in Halifax.
Team members were tasked with searching various areas of interest by the police, but without conclusion.
Cathryn is still missing: MISSING PERSONS APPEAL
West Yorkshire Police: WATCH Appeal Cathryn Holdsworth, 74yr
Anyone with any information relating to Cathryn’s whereabouts should contact the police.
In attendance: 16 CVSRT
West Yorkshire Police
Total Duration: 7hrs 30mins
- Date Friday, 22 September 2017
- Location Heathy Lane, Halifax
- Grid Reference SE 07260 28433
- Latitude 53.752215
- Longitude -1.8913795
- Man Hours 120
- Members In Attendance 16
At 11:04, CVSRT received a request from West Yorkshire Police to assist with the recovery of a deceased male on the Milennium Way, above Ilkley.
In attendance: 16 CVSRT
West Yorkshire Police
Total Duration: 5hrs 41mins
- Date Sunday, 10 September 2017
- Location Millennium Way, Burley in Wharfedale
- Grid Reference SE 13669 44780
- Latitude 53.899013
- Longitude -1.7934591
- Man Hours 90.9
- Members In Attendance 16
CVSRT received a request from West Yorkshire Police to assist with the on going search for 70yo Barry Nicholson who was reported missing from his home on Sunday evening (13th).
25 members with 2 search dogs were tasked with searching areas of interest looking for the gentleman. Unfortunately we didn’t find him and at 3am the team were stood down.
Sadly the body of Mr Nicholson was found in the river two days later.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
In attendance: 25 CVSRT
West Yorkshire Police
Total Duration: 6hrs 31mins
- Date Monday, 14 August 2017
- Location Brighouse
- Grid Reference SE 15749 22040
- Latitude 53.694569
- Longitude -1.7629653
- Man Hours 162.9
- Members In Attendance 25
At 19:55, CVSRT received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to provide urgent assistance with a vehicle, which had left the A672 (Rishworth Moor) and had come to rest approx. 50-60ft down the steep banking in a deep ravine. 19 CVSRT members were available to assist immediately and deployed in team vehicles or directly.
Once on-scene, team members were advised by West Yorkshire Police that the driver was missing from the vehicle, so we were tasked with assisting with a multi-agency search for the driver at the crash site and surrounding moorland.
At 02:00, CVSRT members concluded their tasking and returned to base, then onward to their homes. No further information is available at this moment.
Police enquiries are ongoing.
In attendance: 19 CVSRT
West Yorkshire Police (WYP)
West Yorkshire Police Dogs (WYPD)
West Yorkshire Police Roads Policing Unit (WYP RPU)
National Police Air Service (NPAS CarrGate)
Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA)
Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS)
YAS BASICS Doctor
YAS Hazardous Area Response Team (YAS HART)
West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (WYFRS)
WYFRS Technical Rescue Unit (TRU)
Search and Rescue Dog from Cave Rescue Organisation (SARDA England) (CRO)
Total Duration: 6hrs 5mins
- Date Saturday, 19 August 2017
- Location Boothwood Reservoir, Rishworth Moor
- Grid Reference SE 01038 16142
- Latitude 53.641790
- Longitude -1.9857744
- Man Hours 97.3
- Members In Attendance 19
CVSRT received a request from West Yorkshire Police to provide assistance with the search for a male who had been heard screaming for help in Eaves Wood.
After concluding our tasking from the police with no conclusion, CVSRT members stood down and returned to their homes. Police enquiries on-going.
In attendance: 26 CVSRT
West Yorkshire Police
National Police Air Service (NPAS Carr Gate)
Total Duration: 5hrs 26mins
- Date Saturday, 12 August 2017
- Location Eaves Wood, Heptonstall Quarry
- Grid Reference SD 96598 28400
- Latitude 53.751955
- Longitude -1.9899910
- Man Hours 119.5
- Members In Attendance 26